The rise, fall, and resurgence of vinyl

In celebration of Record Store Day, Voice explores the history and resurgence of vinyl.

The rise, fall, and resurgence of vinyl

In recent years the vinyl format has enjoyed a huge growth in sales despite the use of streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music. 2022 had the largest sales of vinyl since 1990 with UK sales hitting £116.8 million. So what exactly has drawn people away from digital downloads and into record stores?

The first vinyl records were created in 1930 and enjoyed their height of success in the 70s, famous for records such as Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’ And David Bowie’s ‘Aladdin Sane’. Come the 80s however, vinyl shipments dropped by more than 50%, and eventually CDs outsold the LP format, peaking in 2002. Despite the Oasis/Blur rivalry, dubbed ‘The battle of Britpop’, no record label would’ve been able to buy a very big house in the country solely on vinyl sales by that point. 

Moving to the present day, a reintroduction of Britpop and indie sleaze (anyone for The Kooks on karaoke?) primarily brought back in by Gen Z means vinyl has enjoyed a comeback. However, is it just for the Instagram aesthetic or are younger generations really buying into the experience?

Voice spoke to freelance journalist Adam England, whose expertise has been featured on Gigwise, The Guardian, and NME, to name a few.  

“I think people like vinyl because it offers an alternative to the almost disposable listening experience of streaming – you're holding a piece of music in your hands, and you have to put it on your record player and really listen, rather than just passively streaming music.” 

Discussing the importance of Record Store Day he also shared that “there's the fun of going to a record store and having a browse. Like a lot of people I buy vinyl alongside streaming music, treating myself to a favourite album here and there. Record Store Day is invaluable in spreading vinyl to a wider audience and encouraging people to maybe try out a new artist if they like the look of one of the limited edition records they find.”

In my opinion, vinyl is a great way to get lost in the music. It offers nowhere to hide, no skipping, just the art as the art was first intended. Whilst streaming services are convenient and have their place on long train journeys, vinyl offers an experience that feels far more immersive than touching a few buttons on an iPhone. Record Store Day is not only exciting and a great way to purchase your favourite music, but it’s also vital in keeping independent record stores alive. 


Record Store Day will take place on 22 April 2023 and the full list of exclusive albums, EPs and singles can be found here: https://recordstoreday.co.uk/rsd-list/

Author

Faith Martin

Faith Martin Kickstart

Faith worked as a freelance journalist for a year after finishing her studies at Portsmouth College, writing for a number of esteemed publications as well as running her own music blog before joining Voice Magazine as a Kickstart Trainee Journalist. An avid vinyl collector and gig-goer, Faith also campaigns for disability rights and better disabled access at live music events.

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